NJ Accelerate encourages the participation of New Jersey Entrepreneurs in high-quality accelerator programs, which increase the growing young, innovative companies in the state.
“NJ Accelerate is designed to mitigate the many obstacles that early-stage entrepreneurs often face when starting their businesses, ranging from limited business expertise to lack of funding.”
-NJEDA Chief Executive Offer Tim Sullivan
NJ Accelerate is a two-step process to encourage the engagement of accelerator programs in New Jersey, while facilitating the participation of businesses in these accelerator programs.
NJ Accelerate recognizes the strengths of accelerators in nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurs. Through NJ Accelerate, the NJEDA seeks to provide entrepreneurs access to best-in-class programs and return home with the tools and support to grow their businesses in the Garden State.
An accelerator is a fixed-term, cohort-based “boot camp” offering educational programs for start-up founders, exposing them to a wide variety of mentors, including former entrepreneurs, venture capitalists (VCs), angel investors, and corporate executives.
Through the NJ Accelerate Program, NJEDA will:
- Promote Approved Accelerator program opportunities to the NJ innovation ecosystem.
- Match sponsorship support for Approved Accelerator programs and events held in NJ.
- Provide direct loans and rent support to eligible Approved Accelerator graduates.
- Support Governor Murphy’s goal of making NJ the most diverse innovation ecosystem in the country
NJ Accelerate is a two-step process to encourage the engagement of accelerator programs in New Jersey, while facilitating the participation of businesses in these accelerator programs:
1. Accelerator operators apply to the NJEDA to be pre-qualified as an “Approved Accelerator”.
2. Approved Accelerator graduates are eligible for financial assistance from the NJEDA in NJ.
Eligibility for Accelerator Operators
The NJEDA will welcome all accelerators that meet the program criteria and evaluate them during the pilot on a first-come, first-served basis. The accelerator entity must meet the minimum following criteria:
- The Accelerator is best-in-class, defined by the NJEDA’s evaluation criteria (see eligibility checklist)
- The Accelerator has a US presence accessible for a site visit, etc.
- The Accelerator will provide financial investment in some form to at least one participant company per cohort
- The Accelerator must have graduated a minimum of two cohorts prior to NJ Accelerate approval
- The Accelerator Program has a consideration for at least one sector including: advanced manufacturing, information/technology, lifesciences, finance and insurance, clean energy, food and beverage, advanced transportation, food and beverage, film and digital media with a preference for all accelerator programs that have a focus on supporting female entrepreneurs and founders of color.
Eligibility Requirements for Businesses Participating in Approved Accelerators:
Companies must meet the following criteria within six months of graduation (or the latter date of departure out of the physical space offered, with respect only to the rent award of NJ Accelerate) from the Approved Accelerator to qualify for support.
- Registered to conduct business in NJ
- More than 50% of the company employees work or pay taxes in NJ
- The Company is in one of the eight NJ targeted sectors as listed in Governor Murphy’s Economic Development Plan, The State of Innovation, referenced above.
The company must support its verification with the following documents, including, at minimum:
- Registration certificate to conduct business in NJ
- 2-page executive summary
- NJWR30, or NJ Registered PEO letter
- Letter from Approved Accelerator confirming successful program graduation
For more information about the NJ Accelerate Program, please click here to review the board memorandums that established the program.
If you have any questions or would like to become an Approved Accelerator, please send your completed Accelerator Eligibility Checklist to firstname.lastname@example.org